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Student Life

Here’s Why Every Student-Athlete Should Get a Part-Time Job

December 3, 2021

There are many benefits to being a student-athlete. You get to proudly represent your university while having access to your school’s exclusive training facilities and equipment. You form a bond with your fellow players and learn teamwork and sportsmanship. You also develop healthy habits, staying mentally and physically fit to excel in your performance. Many student-athletes also receive financial assistance to help fund their tuition, campus housing, and other school expenses.

However, it’s not all perks and glory. Being a student-athlete entails hard work, discipline, and commitment. You must meet all that is required of a student and an athlete, learning to effectively manage your time between classes and practices, as well as exams and athletic competitions.

Aside from practicing and training while maintaining your GPA, add finding a part-time job to your busy schedule. Even though you can now monetize your name, image, and likeness as a college athlete, getting a part-time job won’t just earn you some extra cash, it will also teach you real-life lessons as you transition to adulthood.

Here are some valuable things you can learn from getting a part-time job while balancing sports and studies.

The Importance of People Skills

As a student-athlete, you get to train with people who share the same interests and values. You know how to trust and communicate with each other on the court or on the field to achieve a common goal. 

However, when you land a part-time job, you will often find yourself working with individuals with different personalities and beliefs, with different goals and commitments. You might not even like some of these people and some of them might not like you. It could be a co-worker in a restaurant who feels your lack of experience is backing up service. Or a supervisor with instructions and criticisms you don’t always agree with.

But to do your job, you must learn to work with this team. You’ll have to learn how to effectively communicate with them. You need to actively listen, understand, and empathize to minimize miscommunication and conflicts, and instead build trust, rapport, and respect. You must also learn how to receive feedback constructively, without being reactive and defensive.

The ability to positively interact with others, despite having diverse interests and backgrounds, allows you to form effective working relationships and helps you succeed at work and in life.

The Power of a Positive Attitude

After a long week of class lectures, project deadlines, and rigorous training drills, the last thing you may want to do is report to your Saturday shift at a local coffee shop—especially after a customer got upset with you the last time for misspelling her name and for topping her frappe with whipped cream after she specifically told you not to.

Instead of dwelling on the mishaps, overcome these challenges by looking at things with optimism. Learn from your mistakes and aim to better yourself. If you focus too much on the negatives, you might prevent yourself from improving. So, instead of dreading another blunder, smile at your next customer and spell out his name before you scribble it on his cup. Then repeat his order to make sure you got it right.

When you make a habit of seeing the bright side of things, you can take on even the most challenging situations with a positive mindset and view mistakes and setbacks as opportunities to learn and become better.

The Goal of Financial Freedom

The average professional athlete earns over $50,000 a year, with the top earners making almost $90,000 annually. If you wake up tomorrow and get drafted as one of the youngest players in history—congratulations! For most student-athletes though, it may take several years longer before you get your big break.

Instead of sitting on the bench, working and earning your own money teaches you to appreciate the value of every dollar. You won’t have to rely on your parents for cash as you take the first step toward financial independence. You will learn how to properly manage your finances and build good credit as a student.

Earning money from a part-time job helps ensure you pay your monthly balance on time. Establishing good credit while you’re young teaches you to become more reliable and responsible and positively impacts your ability to get a job, utility services, better insurance rates, better housing options, and more.

Success in a Different Career

While there are nearly half a million NCAA student-athletes, a much lower number make it to pro after college. Like any big game, finding a job inside or outside of sports requires hard work, discipline, and a solid game plan. Taking on a part-time job while studying can improve your employment prospects and help you succeed in your future career, whether it’s on the sports field or in the corporate arena.

Working part-time as a student-athlete does not only teach you to manage your time, but you also get to find and develop your other strengths. You can try different career options. You can find a job in health and fitness as a coach or trainer. You can try the food and restaurant industry as a member of the wait staff. You can also consider online gigs and do freelance work as a social media manager, virtual assistant, online tutor, or graphic designer.

Final Word

Devoting even just a few hours a week over four years of college gives you hundreds of hours of shadowing or internship experience. This equips you with valuable knowledge and skills that can help you stand out in any career you choose.

Safety Student Life Transition

Finding Your First College Apartment: A Checklist

November 29, 2021

For many young people, moving into an off-campus college apartment is an exciting first step to independence. But before you can enjoy your newfound freedom, you have to find a suitable apartment and arrange the move.

Here’s our college apartment checklist to help make the process easier.

Finding the Right Apartment

Students need to consider more than just price and location when looking for a college apartment. You should also consider:

Distance

How close to campus do you want to be? If you have your own transportation, you could expand your search to neighborhoods further away, where you may find a better apartment at a lower price. 

Safety

If you will be walking or biking to and from campus, safety should be a top concern. How safe is the neighborhood and what security features does the apartment complex have?

College community

If you want to be part of the student social scene, then an apartment near campus would probably be ideal. If, however, you would prefer less social distractions, choose a quieter neighborhood.

Amenities

What type of amenities would make your life easier — laundry facilities, communal areas like pools or gyms, or nearby restaurants and shops?

Access to public transportation

If you don’t have your own transportation, find an apartment close to public transit so it’s easy to get around.

Pets

Would you like to bring your pet? Not all apartments allow pets and those that do are likely to have some rules around pets. In addition, you may want to look into getting renters insurance that covers pet-related incidents. Note that some policies restrict certain types of breeds, like Pit Bull Terriers and German Shepherds. 

Planning Your Finances 

You may dream of a trendy studio apartment in the heart of the city, but your budget may relegate you to a more affordable option a little farther away. Finances play a big role in where you eventually settle. But with some planning, you may be able to find a happy medium. 

First, crunch the numbers:

  • What is your budget for rent?
  • Are utilities included in the rent? 
  • Will you be paying extra for a parking bay or garage?
  • How much will your public transportation or vehicle running costs amount to? 
  • Will you be paying for car and renters insurance?

If the total costs are higher than your budget allows, there are ways you can make renting a college apartment more affordable.

  • Consider a roommate. This is a great way to cut costs, but choose wisely. Pick a roommate with a similar lifestyle and habits. Remember, a bad roommate who breaks the rules could get you kicked out of the apartment. 
  • Get a part-time job. You may not even need to leave your apartment — there are online jobs for students like freelance copywriting or teaching English online.  

Preparing to Move 

Once you’ve found the right apartment, it’s time to pack. The easiest way to do it is to pack by room, i.e. kitchen, bathroom, living room, office/study area. Label boxes clearly so that the movers can immediately put the boxes in the correct room, ready for you to unpack.  

Moving Day

Moving homes is one of life’s most stressful events. With a little planning and forethought, you can breeze through it.

  • Decide on whether to move yourself or hire a moving company. Weigh up cost-saving versus time-saving. Hiring a moving company is an extra cost but it may save time and be more convenient. There are also moving companies who specialize in helping students move at more affordable rates.
  • If you’ve decided to tackle the move yourself, gather some troops to help with the heavy lifting. Mom, dad and friends may be happy to help. As a thank you, treat them to some snacks and drinks in an end-of-moving-day party.
  • Be prepared emotionally. Moving day can be emotional, not just for your parents, but also for you. Don’t worry, though, mom and dad will always be a phone call away when you need them! 

Moving day doesn’t have to be stressful. Keep these tips in mind for a smooth move!

Adulting Student Life

A College Student’s Guide to Retirement

November 22, 2021

As a college student, retirement is probably the furthest thing from your mind. You might not even know exactly what you want to do for a living yet. 

But, it’s never too early to start saving money and thinking about your future. The more focus you put on your retirement now, the easier it will be to set financial goals throughout your life and live comfortably in your golden years. You might even be able to retire early!

So, what are some of the basics to consider if you want to start planning and saving for retirement? 

Know How to Invest

One of the best ways to save money for retirement is to educate yourself on investing. Your mind might immediately go to stocks and bonds, but a good rule of thumb is to diversify your investments. It’s less risk, especially when you’re starting out, and could yield a greater return. You can diversify by investing in things like:  

  • Mutual funds
  • Savings accounts
  • Index funds
  • ETFs

It’s okay to think outside of the box when it comes to investments, too. If you’ve always been interested in real estate, consider purchasing a rental property. Does a friend of yours have a vineyard? Consider investing in their wine company. You can have some fun with your money while making smart choices with it. 

Understanding which investments are taxable can also help you decide which ones are right for you. Try to have a mix of taxable and non-taxable retirement accounts, like 401(k)s and company bonuses. There are steps you can take before and after you stop working to limit the taxes you’ll have to pay once you retire, so don’t be afraid to do your research on the best investments now and in the future. 

Set Achievable Goals

When you’re in college, it’s easy to dream big. You’ve got the world at your fingertips and everything seems possible.  

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting big goals. But, when it comes to your finances, the smarter option is to set smaller, achievable goals for the rest of your life that you can achieve before moving on to the next one. Some of your savings goals could include: 

  • Saving for a car
  • Saving for a house
  • Paying off your student loans
  • Getting rid of other debt

By mapping out your financial goals, you’ll get a clearer picture of your budget, so you can determine how much money can be put away each month for your retirement. As you start to reach some of your goals, you can start saving more money and adjust your budget. It’s a life-long process that can require consistent “tweaking”. But, it will make a big difference in your long-term financial success. 

It’s okay to have fun with your money right now but be smart with it. Thinking about your retirement and what you want to do with your life now will make it easier to achieve your financial goals in the future. Keep these tips in mind to start putting more focus on your finances and what you really want out of your eventual retirement. 

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Student Life

7 Tips to Create the Perfect Study Environment

November 17, 2021

Many essential factors, both good and bad, contribute to a person’s academic success. However, looking at all the possible things that could go wrong won’t do you any good. You will create doubts and demotivate yourself.

Instead of thinking about things that could go wrong, be proactive in setting yourself up for success. The best way anyone can do this is to create an environment where they thrive as learners without any distractions.

People often overlook their study environment, but it can make a huge difference in how well you perform.

Stay organized

Being organized is crucial when it comes to studying. We’re not talking about the learning process itself. Sometimes it’s random, and you can learn with different techniques.

Start with cleaning up the clutter. Set the time when you will start learning and make sure that you don’t have any other obligations. Ensure you won’t be bothered by using headphones if you’re studying in a library or public place, or letting your roommates know not to disturb you.

Make your study environment optimal and organized. If you’re using a computer, consider getting different types of power cords that can help you hide all the wires and make your work area neat. Keep all your learning materials in a single place, and be prepared to start learning at any time.

Find a suitable study location

People study in all kinds of different places. No matter where you are studying, you need to feel comfortable without distractions. Consider studying in your bedroom, office, the library, a coffee shop, or a co-working space.

Some people can also learn in shared learning spaces, so think about these options as well. Once you find a spot you like, stick with it and create your routine around it. And remember, switching up your learning location can also be a good thing from time to time.

Keep your phone away

One of the biggest distractions today is the smartphone. Nearly everyone is used to being on their phones at any given moment during the day. We have a habit of looking at phones while drinking coffee, in bed, on the toilet, and so on.

It’s a very negative habit when it comes to studying. Reaching for your smartphone can not only disrupt your current learning process, but it will also likely occupy your mind with irrelevant information. Turn your phone to silent mode and if you have to, move it into another room. If you get notifications on your laptop or smart watch, remember to mute those as well!

Try music

There are many studies that explore the effects of music on our brains. Music can help us in so many different ways, and some people can even learn better with music. They use it as a tool to keep things fun and go through their lessons more easily.

Let’s face it when you’re doing something while having fun – it’s a lot easier. Many people say that music helps them, but there is also research that confirms the benefits of music for studying. Classical or jazz music can be nice to listen to when you’re in a good study zone. If you could handle lyrics and changing beats while you’re studying, try another genre!

Make it comfortable

Taking care of practical things like noise, distractions, and clutter is essential. However, the visual experience of your study environment is also significant. Decorating your learning space with pictures, flowers, lighting, furniture, and comfy pillows can make learning easier.

At the same time, make sure to get a comfortable chair and desk so you feel more inclined to use it. Studying from your bed or couch may sound nice at first, but it might be a little too comfortable and make you sleepy.

Avoid spending time in that space when you’re not studying

When you’re spending too much time in one room, you can start to feel drained, even when you’re not studying. Everyone needs a change of scenery, especially when they’ve been studying for several hours. If you want to feel comfortable in your environment, get out of it whenever you can.

Even while you’re studying, make sure to get up, stretch, and walk to your other room or even go outside. Getting the blood flowing even for a few minutes every 30 to 90 minutes can do a lot of good.

Get inspired

What are your goals, and what motivates you to study? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. Once you’ve figured that out, make sure to add posters, photos, desktop backgrounds, quotes, or anything else that inspires you to your study room. When you’re lacking drive or motivation, you can look at these inspirations in your study room and move forward.

With these seven tips, you can easily create a more enjoyable work environment where your knowledge will grow. However, don’t make it too comfortable so that you fall asleep while studying – it’s still a learning environment, not a gaming room.

BIO: Rebecca Grey is a passionate writer & guest blogger. She loves writing and sharing her knowledge mostly in the technology industry.

Student Life

Student Guide on How to Stop Overspending and Start Saving

November 11, 2021

Being a student is one of the most exciting phases of one’s life. Financially, this is the ideal time to experiment with your ideas and get a head start for adulthood. The challenge, though, is how to make ends meet with the limited resources you currently have. After all, just a night of overspending can lead to disastrous results down the line.

Fortunately, there are a lot of steps that you can practice to prevent overspending and learn more about personal financial management. In this article, we are going to share some of them with you, particularly those that we have already tried and tested for years:

1.  Make use of last year’s books.

According to Academic Matters, an average student spends more than $1,000 on books and other learning materials per year. While putting them to good use is the best way to make the most of your investment, there is another way to get (at least) some of your money back. Take good care of your textbooks because you can still resell them for a good price once the school year’s over. Check out your campus bookstore for buy-back programs, or sites such as Amazon or Chegg.

2.  Enjoy savings for this year’s books.

While we’re on the topic of textbook savings, you can use similar tactics for books you have yet to purchase. Look into buying used textbooks or renting them. Many times, you can still. write and highlight in books you rent, so it shouldn’t impact your study habits.

3.  Know your discounts.

Since we are already talking about Amazon, did you know that they have an Amazon Prime student program as well? This allows you to sign-up at half the price of their regular plan, take advantage of significant discounts, enjoy free food delivery, and more.

Meanwhile, Amazon is not the only company that offers discounts to students. Don’t forget other types of bonuses as well. For instance, groceries typically hold late-night discounts for perishable items that didn’t sell during the day. Take the time to find what’s available near you and you might be surprised how a little effort can stretch your dollars further.

4.  Plan your expenses and shop smart.

There are different types of budgeting systems but for students, we highly recommend starting with something simple like the envelope system. It won’t require any expense recording but it will make sure that you live within your means.

Don’t automatically assume that you need to buy everything as well. You will need a lot of things when you’re moving into you’re venturing out into the world for the first time, but don’t think that you would need to buy everything brand new.

There’s no shame in asking around whether your family and friends have some things that you might need just lying around unused, such as old pieces of furniture or kitchen appliances. Other items, like the power tools you’ll need to assemble your own furniture, can also be rented as needed.

We also recommend alternative methods such as point-of-need financing. You can use it to buy bigger educational-related expenses, like a new laptop or a printer. You might even need a small fridge or a microwave for your dorm room. This will allow you to get what you need and pay for them through smaller and more manageable monthly payments.

5.  Explore new interests.

Binge drinking, excessive partying, shopping, and even vaping are all hobbies that are not just irresponsible, they’re quite costly too. Instead, consider exploring fun and inexpensive hobbies!

For example, there are affordable musical instruments that you can start learning how to play. Getting a chess set is pretty cheap and you can spend your whole life contemplating on its 69,352,859,712,417 possibilities and still not master it.

Are you a fan of working out? There are campus gyms that offer free memberships for their students, teachers, even the alumni. The fun that comes with college parties can still be enjoyed, just not overdone!

6.  Take advantage of more affordable forms of entertainment.

A lot of campuses offer free (or really affordable) forms of entertainment such as movie nights, museum passes, and cultural shows. We also recommend skipping a costly cable package. Try a streaming service instead, like Netflix or Hulu. Amazon also offers Amazon Music and Prime Video as part of the student program we have featured earlier. Talk to your roommates and see if they’d split the cost on one or two streaming services for you to share.

In fact, when it comes to music, there really is no need to buy tracks these days. You can simply use free streaming services like Spotify or Pandora.

7.  Share food and space with your friends.

You can further pull down your monthly expenses by splitting the cost of your rent and utilities with a roommate. You can even plan your meals together and share grocery expenses. Splitting the responsibility of cooking and cleaning up is unbeatable!

8.  Review your life skills.

Speaking of cooking, it will save you a lot from eating and spending money on take out. We know how convenient it is, but it is financially smarter to just cook your own dinner rather than reaching for Uber Eats every other day. Save those splurge nights for really special occasions.

Riding a bike is another way to save money in college. Car payments, insurance, parking passes, and gas can really add up, especially if you are on a student budget. If you really need a car, you could rent one for the day or utilize a ride share service. But a bike should be enough if you live on campus or close by.

There are certainly other methods to save money as a student, but the ones we have mentioned above are good points that you can already start practicing. Good luck!

Student Life Transition

8 Ways to Pay for College

November 8, 2021

Attending a college or university can be a great way to open up new doors in your life. You can make professional connections, explore different career paths and nurture your personal interests all on a single campus. A big problem many students face today, though, is paying for college. As costs continue to rise students find themselves scrambling to cover tuition and fees so they continue working toward their dream. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to pay for school so you can enjoy your classes without worrying about tuition.

Fill Out FAFSA

This is the free application for federal student aid. It’s the federal government’s way of assessing your needs and seeing what it can do to help. Universities and colleges use the information in this form to determine what types of funding you might be eligible for. Things like scholarships, grants and student loans are all determined by your FAFSA. The form is filled out per school year and needs to be renewed each year.

Find Scholarships

Almost every higher education institution offers its own scholarships, both campus-wide and departmental. These are also the scholarships that everyone else at your school will be applying for. They’re great to get in on or be awarded, but they’re by no means the end of your scholarship opportunities. Plenty of national organizations and large companies offer their own scholarships to college students. Start searching early and you’re likely to find a treasure trove of alternative scholarships that can help you pay for school. 

Apply for Grants

Grants, like scholarships, are another type of funding that you don’t have to pay back. There are federal and state grants that you’ll be considered for through filling out your FAFSA. The most popular type of grant is a federal Pell grant, which can cover a significant amount of tuition for qualifying students. States have a variety of grants for certain types of students as well, such as Louisiana’s Go Grant for low-income students returning to school.

Get a Work-Study Job

Plenty of students work their way through school, but some lucky ones get to work at their school. Work-study jobs are especially helpful because they often come with some type of tuition remission or exemption (in extremely lucky scenarios). The university or college pays you to hold a position on its staff and as an added bonus it also discounts your tuition. These jobs are typically offered through certain departments, so check with your school to see which areas offer work-study jobs.

Tapping into Your Savings

No one wants to pay out of pocket for their education, but sometimes it’s a reality you have to face. Saving for college throughout high school or in the years before you plan to attend can help you satisfy tuition requirements without having to work extra shifts and worry about missing a payment. A good rule of thumb is to have two years’ worth of tuition and fees saved before you start and a solid savings plan to keep yourself funded throughout your education. 

Choosing an Affordable School

Wouldn’t everyone love to attend an Ivy League school? Although your dream school might have the best program in the country or be in a beautiful area, college is also a time where you have to get real about your financial ability. Setting your sights on a school that’s above your budget will likely set you up for disappointment. Choose a school that’s affordable on its own and also offers lots of funding opportunities. If your state offers scholarships for in-state students, look at schools that honor those programs. Some universities even have legacy scholarships available for students whose parents and grandparents attended as well.

Paying for college can seem impossible, but there are lots of ways to find the money to finance your dreams. Fill out your FAFSA, look for scholarships, grants and work-study jobs, make sure your savings account is in order and find an affordable school. Don’t forget to protect your investment in college with tuition insurance!

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Career Student Life

5 Part Time Online Careers for College Students

November 1, 2021

School tuition is no joke. Some students need to take part-time jobs just to be able to make it through college. However, certain circumstances make it more difficult to work in person. If you’re a college student who wants to earn extra income from the comfort of your home or dorm, here are some part-time positions you can try.

Photo and video editing services

A lot of people out there are not so well-versed with editing photos and videos and would often find freelancers online who could work on one or two projects for them. If you know a thing or two about photo restoration, video editing for social media, and other editing tasks, you can work as a freelancer online. You don’t even have to invest much. You can sign up on free freelance job websites and use a free online video editor for your work.

Freelance writing

Online writers are in high demand. Businesses, professionals, and even independent creators all need written content to build and establish their online presence. There are websites like UpWork where you can sign up to find and bid for freelance writing projects. Just like photo and video editing, clients just provide a deadline so you work on your own schedule.

Online teaching

If you are quite knowledgeable about a subject, language, art, or musical instrument, then you can offer online lessons for a fee. You can do this independently or you could register at websites that offer tutorial services for students who need after-school assistance with specific subjects.

Stock photography

If you have a camera and can take pretty decent photos, you can consider selling some of your images online. Stock media is highly popular and people are willing to pay for photos they could use on their websites, ads, blogs, videos, magazines, brochures, and other digital or printed materials. Although the income probably won’t be consistent, you could earn enough to support your studies by putting out photos that are relevant to popular topics nowadays.

Graphic design or digital art

Digital creations are in demand, be it for personal or business use. You can work as a project-based graphic designer, creating brand logos, brochures, packaging design, and other visual concepts for companies, entrepreneurs, and organizations. If you are more interested in art, you can create digital artworks and sell prints of them online.

Starting your online career

An online part-time job can help you earn extra income for your college tuition. The great thing about working remotely is that you won’t have to spend money commuting to your workplace. If at all possible, find an online job that’s related to your current field of study. Not only will it help you financially, you will also gain a lot of experience while being able to learn more and hone your skills. Just make sure that you have a working computer, a stable internet connection, and the apps or tools that you need to help you work better and create impressive results. Good luck!

Student Life

Guide to Decorating Your Dorm Room (+ DIY Ideas)

October 29, 2021

If you’re headed to college, you probably know about all the expenses you’ll need to make, and decorating your room is one of them. 

Decorating a dorm room can be a fun activity, but it can be expensive. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to avoid spending all your savings on dorm room items

Why It’s Important to Decorate Your Dorm Room

  • Dorm rooms are often small, so you need to choose the right decorations to maximize all the space and make the room look larger.
  • If you have a roommate, using the right decorations will help you get more privacy.
  • You’ll likely spend much of your time in your dorm room, so it’s important to make it as cozy as possible.
  • Decorating your dorm room can be an exciting activity and can help you relax when first move there.

DIY Dorm Room Ideas

1. Create Artwork

If you’re a creative person, you can create art to embellish your dorm room. To get started, get your paint, pens, or other means of creating artwork, and get to work!

2. Create a Photo Wall

As you start out college, you’re probably going to miss many of your friends and family members. To make them feel closer, create a photo wall and hang photos that will remind you of them every day. Then, you can add photos of your new friends to the photo wall and keep the collection growing.

2. Print a Door Hanger

Using a door hanger is one of the easiest ways to decorate your dorm room at nearly no cost. There are many you can find available for free online. Just be sure you print them out on card stock to get the best results!

3. Hang Seasonal Decorations

When vacations are coming closer, you might start missing your family. To get a holiday vibe as soon as possible, hang seasonal decorations and lights to combat homesickness.

4. Create DIY Curtains

Your dorm room probably already has curtains, but that doesn’t mean you need to keep those. Nor do you necessarily have to buy expensive ones. To personalize your dorm room, consider creating your own curtains by simply using fabric fuse tape and swatches of fabric.

5. Optimize Your Space

Like we mentioned, when dealing with a small space, it’s important to optimize its use. Start with the shelves. Use open, corner shelves or hanging shelves to organize your books, frame, and more without using all the dorm room. 

6. Use Items to Stay Organized

In addition to clothes, you need to optimize the space for your smaller items too. You can use an expandable drawer for utensils, a hanging jewelry organizer for your precious metals, and a cosmetics organizer for your makeup tools.

7. Pick a Theme

To really let your personality come through in your dorm room, make sure you pick a specific theme. First, use your favorite colors for your sheets and furniture. If you’re passionate about music, consider hanging posters of your favorite bands. If you’re a sports fan, you can use your team’s colors and gadgets to make your form room more interesting. Consider creating a zen environment in your dorm room.

Personalizing your dorm room with decorations, no matter how simple or extravagant, can make your space feel warm, inviting, and comforting. Keep these ideas in mind as you begin the decorating process!

BIO: Originally from Rome, Italy, Giacomo Rotella holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Hult International Business School. He’s an experienced marketer with a focus on SEO.

Other Student Life

Supporting and Understanding Gender Identity in College

October 26, 2021

The college years are some of the most formative, character-building years in a young adult’s life. For many, college is the time they solidify their personal, ethical, religious, and political beliefs. For others, these years may be spent discovering their true sense of self in their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. A lot of learning is done in college and perhaps one of the most salient things someone may learn in college is how to understand, accept, and appreciate the differences of others.

A topic somewhat new to academia and popular culture alike is the concept of gender fluidity, and how to support and understand individuals who may identify and express their gender in ways that some would not consider traditional. According to Postsecondary National Policy Institute, 10% of college students identify as LGBTQ+. With the rise of this particular minority group on college campuses, it is essential that everyone educate themselves on how to be the best ally, friend, and classmate.

What is gender fluidity?

Before diving into why and how to support people who experience gender fluidity, let’s lay the groundwork for understanding all of the language involved in the discourse surrounding gender and gender expression.

  • Gender is how someone identifies and may correlate to the gender they were assigned at birth that aligns with their sex (male or female). If someone was born a female and identifies as a girl or woman, that person is cisgender, meaning their gender identity and expression aligns with their biological sex.
  • If someone identifies as a gender they were NOT assigned at birth, that person is transgender.
  • If someone is gender fluid, it means that they experience their gender on a spectrum, and may express more masculine, feminine, or androgynously in accordance with how they feel most comfortable. Many gender-fluid people do not identify as transgender, some choosing to align themselves with no gender at all, all of the genders, or no label.

Regardless of how a college peer chooses to identify, it is their choice and their choice alone.

How does a gender-fluid individual present himself/herself?

So, how does someone experiencing gender-fluidity present himself/herself, and what is life like for them? While this varies from person to person, many gender-fluid individuals will choose pronouns and clothing that conform to their gender presentation, perhaps using masculine pronouns such as he/him/his and choosing traditionally masculine clothing some days, and more feminine clothing and pronouns such as she/her/hers on other days. Other fluid individuals prefer they/them pronouns or other neopronouns that are unattached to being male or female, paired with androgynous gender fluid clothing. It may seem odd to those who have identified as cisgender their whole lives to grasp the concept of gender fluidity, but many gender-fluid identifying people describe it as experiencing the reality of both genders, just in different timeframes, experiencing a sense of gender euphoria when presenting according to how they feel.

Supporting gender fluidity on campus

As our society grows more inclusive and understanding, the percentage of people becoming comfortable enough to come out as gender-fluid and live their lives accordingly has increased. So, how can you understand and subsequently support the people around you who identify as gender-fluid? There is no complicated step-by-step guide, nor a specific “how-to” manual in that regard, but there are some basic guidelines that may allow your peers to feel safe, comfortable, and appreciated.

Use their preferred pronouns

Being a good ally to the LGBTQ+ community involves dedicating effort to honoring pronouns, creating inclusive spaces, and educating oneself in areas of inexperience. Although it may take some getting used to, switching back and forth between someone’s pronouns in accordance to their preference is probably the best way someone can be supportive of a gender-fluid college peer. By using the pronoun they identify with, you are proving to them that you hear what they have to say, you respect their feelings, and are dedicated to their comfort.

Take time to listen

Beyond usage of proper pronouns, being supportive can be as simple as listening and validating their experiences as members of the LGBTQ+ community, or as involved as joining a local campus campaign to educate and spread acceptance regarding identities across the gender spectrum. Dormitory living is an aspect of college life that is unique to on-campus living. Allowing gender-fluid dorm mates to use the bathroom and showers that they feel comfortable with will relieve social stigma and gender dysphoria. If campus policy does not support your gender-fluid peers, becoming part of a movement within the student council to modify policy and create a safe, inclusive place for everyone may be a massive way to show support.

Educate yourself

Remember, being a part of a minority group can be stressful, harmful, and even dangerous for some people. Do not expect your gender-fluid classmate to be an educational resource for you or someone who answers all of your LGBTQ+-related questions. There are many online resources, as well as books and other media that can be an asset to you on your educational journey towards understanding and appreciating those around you.

Whether it is using their pronoun of choice, respecting their presentation using gender-fluid clothing, honoring their identity in social situations, or educating yourself on the reality of being different, there are many avenues to being a good ally to gender-fluid individuals, most of which involve simply supporting their right to be comfortable in their own bodies. From organizing student body councils to make inclusive campus policies, to simply honoring someone’s pronoun preference, everyone has the ability to improve the quality of the college experience for their gender fluid peers.

Career Student Life

5 Reasons Why You Should Get an MBA

October 21, 2021

Getting a Master of Business Administration degree is one of the best decisions you can make when it’s time to push your professional career forward. An MBA can help you get ahead in your career, start your own business, and so much more. 

Many people debate whether it’s a good idea for them to go back to school and get an MBA. But there are so many benefits to choosing this as a new college option that will help you get ahead. Read below for some of the top reasons why you should consider going for your MBA.

1.     The People You Meet

While studying for a Masters of Business Administration degree, you will get a chance to meet others who share the same passion that you do for business. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, or if you plan to work for yourself or for a company, you will find that pursuing your MBA can open the door to valuable networking opportunities.

Take the time while working on your MBA to focus on networking and learning more about the world of business. You can make some of the best connections possible when you go for your MBA and there is never another opportunity to meet people like this all in one place. 

2.     You Get a Holistic Business Education

There is so much that you can learn when you work with an MBA. Even if you have spent a lot of time in the workforce, there are situations when learning new techniques and methods can be useful.

On-campus and online MBA programs can provide you with a holistic business education that will make sure you have a wide knowledge base and expand your interests more than anything else. 

3.     Work On Your Communication

An MBA program enables you to become an effective communicator. From writing papers and emails to giving a lot of presentations, you will do it all within this degree program. 

MBA programs are designed to help students find the best way to effectively communicate in all sorts of business environments. This is an essential skill for many of the industries in the world of business, and yet one that is going to be lacking in most business professionals. 

Whether you need help overall or you have a specific area that is lacking, you will find that this degree is going to give you some tips and tricks to make it all a bit better. 

4.     Learn About Collaborations and Building Teams

In the world of business, you will need to spend a lot of time working with others, being part of a team, and sharing ideas along the way. Collaborating isn’t always easy, but with an MBA program, you will get a chance to experience this before entering the workforce.

Businesses, no matter what type they are, are a type of group environment. If you are not already spending a good deal of time working in teams, you will find that this will change as you pursue your MBA degree. 

You will need to work on these teams regardless of whether you get the degree on campus or through an online university. You will also spend time learning how to build good teams, which is an important step in business management.

5.     Expand Your Mind

Busy careers can make it really hard to find the time for any kind of self-reflection. This is something that can change when you work on an MBA. Whether you decide to do this on campus or you are doing an online program, the MBA will make it easier to expand your mind. 

While you take these classes and spend time with other students who share your interests, you will get a chance to step back and think about things in a different light. These programs help you think about bigger issues in business, branch out in some new directions, and even consider some new opportunities to grow your career. 

Choosing to Get Your MBA Degree

An MBA degree is one of the best options to go with when you wish to further your career and get ahead with management or even starting your own business. When you are ready to make a change, take advantage of an MBA degree and see how much of a difference it can make for you.